The ongoing drought conditions in California have placed the onus on many water agencies to reevaluate their ideas about resiliency and sustainability. At Rancho California Water District (Rancho Water / District), this means a continued focus on innovation, technology, and community partnerships. Rancho Water continues to launch forward-thinking projects that encourage water resiliency, maximize the life cycle of facilities, and empower its customers to monitor their water use.
Water Resiliency: CropSWAP (Sustainable Water for Agricultural Production
Rancho Water’s crop growers have undeniably been hit with mounting demands to maintain a successful annual crop: an ongoing statewide drought; rising costs of imported water; and an increasing demand being placed on the energy grids. To help these customers, the District implemented the CropSWAP program. The program financially assists customers with crop conversion projects that save water by replacing higher water use crops (like avocados) with lower water use crops such as wine grapes, olives, and cut flowers.
CropSWAP helps Rancho Water meet its long-term goals of water supply reliability, efficient water management, and economic sustainability for local agriculture. The 29 crop conversion projects that have been operational for more than one year represent 156 acres of converted crops with annual water savings of 400 million gallons per year.
Maximizing Assets: Facility Management Plan
Rancho Water has also employed a progressive Asset Management Plan (Plan) to bring a business approach to maintaining our valuable system assets such as pipelines, treatment plants, and lift stations. The Plan addresses the inevitable aging of our system in a cost effective and planned approach.
The benefits of the asset management planning include improved decision making and more cost effective replacements of capital assets. It also allows Rancho Water to work in advance with other governing authorities, ratepayers, and key stakeholders. This approach allows Rancho Water to minimize unplanned repairs providing a savings to the District and its customers of nearly two-thirds the cost.
Custom Technology: MyWaterTracker & Leak Alerts
Rancho Water is at the leading edge of technology. To provide its customers with a way to visually view and track their water usage, Rancho Water developed MyWaterTracker, which is a custom technology that provides customers with an easy to use, digital platform to track real-time water use.
Accompanying this is Rancho Water’s leak notification program, which contacts the customer when a property’s water meter detects a possible leak. The early detection gives customers a head start to fix the leak before it causes costly damage, unnecessarily wasting gallons of water and resulting in a higher bill.
With an innovative mind for the future, Rancho Water continues to ensure long-term sustainability of its water sources while empowering customers to be mindful of their water use.